This was more of what Salem had in mind.
Following a disheartening, 34-14 loss to rival Heritage on the season's opening weekend, Salem bounced back nicely last Friday. Four different players scored a touchdown as the Seminoles traveled to Danielsville and dominated Madison County, 36-7.
"I felt like we did a better job of doing our assignments up front, giving our backs a chance to make plays," said Seminoles second-year coach John Starr. "One of the things, I felt like the staff did a lot better job of putting our guys in position to make plays. We're starting to learn our personnel a lot better. I felt like our defense played really good, they forced a couple turnovers, basically pitched a shut out. Our defense rose to the occasion, did what they had to do to win. Played real hard all night."
Now at the .500 mark, Salem turns its attention to Habersham Central. Despite the season being just two games old, the Raiders have already had an up and down year. In week one, the Raiders upset Apalachee, the 2009 Region 8-AAAA champions who went 6-4 a year ago, then had a heartbreaking loss to Cedar Shoals last week. Habersham led 34-7 at halftime and looked destined to move to 2-0, but Cedar scored 34 unanswered points in the final 24 minutes to pull off the stunning win.
If the Raiders are to erase the memory of the loss to Cedar and knock off Salem, quarterback Kevin Ellison will be at the forefront of the revival. Ellison was a one-man offense in the first half last week, rushing for 169 yards and four touchdowns, but in the second half, Cedar held him to just 25 yards. Still, he is a dangerous weapon and the Salem defense will have to account for the senior at all times.
"Looking for suggestions on stopping this guy," Starr said earlier in the week. "He's pretty special. He's fast and he can throw it. He's a very special player, we have to pay special attention to this guy."